Be prepared so others may step in

Every family caring for a child with a disability needs to plan for what will happen in case one of the primary caregivers has a medical emergency. It doesn’t matter whether you are a single parent, a two-parent family or a large extended family household—you must have a plan in place. If you become ill or need emergency surgery, a plan will make sure your child with a disability is well taken care of. And if you have other children without disabilities, remember to include caregiving instructions for them, too.

Planning basics

As you create your plan, find friends, neighbors or family members who will be available to step in if help is needed. Make sure emergency contact information and detailed instructions are in place and written down.

Think about all the details of your family routines that you would need to tell someone if you weren’t there to keep things running—then put them on paper as written instructions. For example, what time does school start and end? What is the name of the school? Does your child buy lunch at school or take his lunch?

In many families responsibilities are divided up between partners. Write things down ahead of time to make it easier for one partner to step in if the other partner is sick or hospitalized.

Emergency Planning Resources

Read Preparing for a Medical Emergency with a Medically Fragile Child for emergency planning tips on everything from directing emergency responders, to conducting weekly CPR and emergency trach change drills.

There are many free online resources available for organizing household information. Search “Organize Records” or “Organized Home” to find templates and suggestions.

Check out Make a Plan from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It offers information and downloadable forms to help you create your plan.